Where Does Rice Pudding Come From?

Last Updated on January 9, 2022 by Guillermina

Many Spanish-speaking countries have their own form of rice pudding, including Mexico, but where does rice pudding come from? Surprisingly it is hard to trace! While there are a lot of predictions, no one knows for sure. What we do know is that Rice pudding is delicious and surprisingly easy to make!

What Is Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is a dessert and breakfast dish that is especially served in Spanish-speaking countries. Each country has its own variation of this dish. In general, though, Rice pudding is a dish that uses different types of milk, sweeteners, and rice!

In Mexico, Rice pudding is referred to as Arroz Con Leche. The Mexican version of this dish has additions like cinnamon, condensed milk, and raisins. It is thick, like a stew or a pudding, and is especially enjoyed during celebrations and the holidays. The dish takes approximately 30-50 minutes to complete, depending on the appliance you use.

Rice Pudding History

 milk rice

The origin of Arroz con Leche is frequently debated! Since so many Spanish and Latin-speaking countries have some kind of version of milk rice, there is no way to know where it first began. For instance, historians have noted Arroz con Leche in countries like Peru dating back centuries ago.

While this is the case, milk rice has a long history in Mexico because of Spain. While Arroz con Leche is authentically Mexican, it was first brought by the Spanish. The popularity only grew when cans of condensed milk grew in consumption in the late 1800s. Before condensed milk was first made, the preservation of milk rice was very difficult!

What Is Milk Rice Made Out Of?

The Mexican version of Milk rice contains these ingredients:

  • Medium Grain Rice
  • Condensed Milk
  • Whole Milk
  • Cinnamon Powder
  • Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Raisins

How To Make Rice Pudding

Surprisingly, this dish is easy to make! The process is quick and smooth to follow. The first step of making Arroz Con Leche is to gather the ingredients and equipment. You need approximately two bowls, a pot, and measuring cups. Once you have the ingredients and materials you need, you can move on to the next step.

During the second step, you can boil the water, cinnamon sticks, sugar, and salt in a large pot. Leave it boiling and don’t add any extra ingredients until the rice is soft and mushy. It should be easy for the rice to absorb flavors in this state. It becomes more difficult if the rice is hard or raw.

 rice pudding origin

After the rice is cooked and boiled, you can then slowly pour the condensed milk into the pot. Stir so the dish is blended smoothly. Discard the cinnamon sticks and garnish your dessert with raisins and cinnamon powder. If someone you know doesn’t like these ingredients, you can place them to the side. However, this does change the flavor of the rice pudding.

Tips and Tricks on Making a Delicious Rice Pudding

There are a few tips and tricks I have for you to make a delicious Arroz con Leche dish with little to no errors! While you can combine all the ingredients together, it is best to separate them. For instance, after you boil the rice with water and the cinnamon stick, you can drain the water and set the rice aside. This does make the process longer, but the taste is richer!

In a different pot, simmer the milks, sugar, and powdered cinnamon together. You should mix and whisk the mixture until smooth. During this step, take a quick taste test to see if you need to add anything extra. Combine the ingredients in the large pot with the cooked rice when the milk mixture is at your desired taste.

Some people who make Rice pudding use lemon or lime zest for an extra kick of flavor. This is a common ingredient, alongside ginger shavings. However, not everyone likes the sourness. You can add this as a garnish or on the side for a tangier taste. Also remember to only store Arroz con Leche in the fridge for 3-5 days as it is a heavy milk product that can go bad.

What To Eat Milk Rice With

The best thing about milk rice is how versatile it is! This dish is usually treated as a dessert where you consume it alone and without any extra toppings. Although this is usually the case, there are people who eat milk rice for breakfast. Although it is sweet, it does pack a lot of flavor, nutrients, and energy for the day.

You can eat Arroz con Leche with a warm cup of café con Leche! If you have leftovers and don’t know what to do with them, you can also eat milk rice with fruit as a breakfast item. Like granola or oatmeal, cut up any berries you have and sprinkle it on top of the milk rice.

The Benefits of Arroz Con Leche

There are also a lot of benefits to eating Arroz con Leche! This delicious dessert and breakfast item is made with a grain that is high in fiber! Rice is a healthy carb that we use to make energy in our bodies. Not only is the rice a great nutritional part of Rice pudding, but so is the milk!

Since this is a heavy milk dish, the milk provides you with plenty of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Calcium. There are also emotional benefits to eating this dish. For Mexicans who grew up eating Arroz con Leche, it can bring back pleasant memories as comfort food.


All in all, the rice pudding origin may be Spain, but in Mexico, it is specially cooked and served during celebrations and holidays. Rice pudding is sweet and can be eaten as a dessert or breakfast item with a few additions like fruit and extra cinnamon.

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 rice pudding history